Thursday, 30th March 2017
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IRELAND is home to the top, international players in the agriculture and ICT industries and has the potential to become a global leader in smart agriculture, the President of a leading Institute of Technology says.

The alignment of the ICT and agriculture industries has the potential to totally re-energise the Irish economy outside of Dublin and totally transform our regional economies, according to Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) President, Prof. Willie Donnelly.

Prof. Donnelly is already globally renowned as the co-founder of the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Techonology, a major incubation hub for ICT innovation. He now wants technology innovators to partner with leaders in Irish agriculture within the region and across Ireland to drive sustainable regional growth and put Ireland on the global map as leaders in the agri-tech industry.

Speaking at the second day of the eDIGIREGION 'Sustaining Regional Innovation and Growth Through Partnership' conference at the WIT Arena, Prof. Donnelly said: “Ireland is already a global player in the agriculture industry and 9 of the top ICT companies have their European headquarters in Ireland.

“We have the potential to be a leader in smart and precision agriculture through the combination and the alignment of the ICT industry and the agriculture industry. We have established and put together a proposal for investment in precision agriculture. Its focus is to IT and to use the knowledge within the region to drive a new agri-tech industry.

“The spin-off we would get from this is that more multi-nationals would want to come in to Ireland and Ireland would become a ‘testbed’ for agriculture. New relationships would also be forged between our indigenous companies and multinationals. The advantage for Ireland and for the regions is that the agri-tech companies being created would be indigenous companies. They would be based locally.”

We should be leveraging the digital economy and the digital infrastructure and create a new environment and a new ecosystem where we have a connectivity between each of the players, academia and industry, Prof. Donnelly added.

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